Avoid backlog in estate confirmation process

My mother unfortunately died in mid-January 2020. I completed the estate confirmation forms and sent these to the Perth Sheriff Court on 1 April. I was aware that there might be some delay in the confirmation process due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place. I visited the Scottish Courts website, but there is no information on it about what happens to confirmation cases during the crisis. A phone call to Perth Sheriff Court (closed) resulted in a redirection to Dundee Sheriff Court and a gruff message saying that only essential casework was being handled and everything else would be left until after restrictions are eased. The overall tone is unhelpful and basically states don't get in touch. Receipt of the forms has not been acknowledged and I still have no idea of the timescale for its handling. The confirmation process is traumatic, particularly so soon after the death of a loved one. The number of deaths has inevitably increased considerably over the last two months. This will result in an increasing backlog in the Scottish Courts service that will only make things worse for those in a similar position to mine. It seems as if the Scottish Courts service has largely stopped working and is not handling much of its regular business. The confirmation process is mainly an administrative one, the bulk of which could be done by people exercising self distancing measures or working from home. Given the impending backlog it would make sense for the Scottish Courts Service to start handling the confirmation process as a priority.

Why the contribution is important

The bereavement process is a traumatic one and many more families will be going through this as a result of Covid-19. Although going through the estate/will confirmation process might be deemed as non-essential by the Scottish Courts Service and others, being able to have some closure on my mum's death and trying to deal with her estate is important to me, my father and my siblings. Whilst financially it is not causing issues for us, for many families financial hardship might become an issue (until confirmation is completed there is very little access to any funds from the deceased's estate, so pressure on income and savings can increase). At the moment, I can see a large backlog developing which would only make matters worse for those affected by a bereavement. Is there something that could be done to both reduce the backlog and the pain for those affected?

by RWDavison on May 06, 2020 at 09:40AM

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